The Herald News, Friday, April 6, 2012 – Page A1
A portion of the timber boardwalk along the Taunton River at Heritage State Park, installed nearly 30 years ago, will be replaced thanks to a $1.5 million grant by the Seaport Advisory Council.
The council, chaired by Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, awarded the grant at its monthly meeting Thursday in support of the city’s plans to redevelop the waterfront and enhance economic development, officials said.
About 1,915 feet of boardwalk will be replaced.
The property is owned by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which will oversee the work.
The boardwalk replacement will be from the state park to the shuttered Regatta restaurant and pub, the original expanse of scenic walkway.
“It’s time to have a new one installed, and that’s what this grant will do,” said Kenneth Fiola Jr. of the Fall River Office of Economic Development after attending the meeting at the Scituate Maritime Museum.
Murray said the 2008 environmental bond bill leverages funds to enhance 2,800 feet of state coastline that “leads to job creation and economic development in Fall River and other port communities.”
Along with Fall River’s grant for $1,544,000, the council awarded grants totaling $1.1 million for waterfront infrastructure projects in Scituate, Chatham, Chilmark and Provincetown.
According to Murray and Fiola, the city award includes $100,000 for engineering and design work, the remainder of the grant for replacement of the wooden walkways, stone bulkheads on which they rest, as well as walkway access to Battleship Cove and the Carousel amusement ride at the state park.
Mayor Will Flanagan said he and Fiola for several months have sought this funding from the Seaport Advisory Council.
As Fall River tries to expand its recreational activities and tourism along the waterfront, Flanagan said, “It’s important we have the infrastructure in place.”
That includes the boardwalk that he said many residents attending events at Heritage State Park have commented and complained to him about. He said their complaints pertained to its sturdiness and condition.
When the walkway was extended in 2004 to Bicentennial Park at President Avenue as a concrete structure between Davol Street and the water, a feasibility study of the timber boardwalk put a five- to seven-year life expectancy on the materials, Fiola said.
Following design of the replacement boardwalk, Fiola said he expects the work to be bid the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2013.
Fall River has benefitted in recent years by other grants from the Seaport Advisory Council, most notably a $2.2 million grant in 2010 toward remediation work at the City Pier that’s in its first phase of soil contamination cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Flanagan said he appreciated the funding support by the council.
Email Michael Holtzman at email@example.com